It was Chris Thomas’ birthday Wednesday, and the fresh-faced senior performed like a man to help lead Glen Oaks to a 76-43 win against Belaire in the opening round of the East Baton Rouge Parish Tournament at Southern University’s F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Thomas scored 29 points and snagged 11 rebounds to carry the fifth-seeded Panthers to a 33-point win.
“He was on that birthday kick. That might have motivated him a little bit more,” joked Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger. “Whether it’s his birthday or not, he’s going to play hard every night. That’s what I really appreciate about him.”
Glen Oaks held a two-point advantage early in the second quarter before Thomas took over, converting a three-point play as part of an 11-0 by the Panthers, as they pulled away and never slowed.
Glen Oaks went into halftime with a 35-21 advantage as Thomas got some help from fellow senior Jalen Variste, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half.
“He makes things go for us,” Adger said of Variste.
Belaire’s Vershon Augustus scored 12 points and DeMarcus Jones added 10 second-half points to make a push for Bengals, but the Panthers slowly pulled away and will face Tara in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Thursday
“Overall, I thought we were balanced inside, outside and had outstanding defense,” Adger said. “You need that to win ballgames.”
Belaire will take on Broadmoor at noon Thursday in an elimination game.
Tara 62, Broadmoor 38: Tara knocked down its first seven shots and never looked back, trouncing Broadmoor, in a first-round game.
The Trojans led 11-0 out of the gate and kept the pedal to the metal the rest of first half, going into halftime with a 35-9 advantage.
“We finally came out and had a pretty good first quarter,” said Tara coach Larry Grantham. “That’s actually the first game we started like that in the first half.”
Josh Plain led the Trojans with 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Tara took its foot off the gas in the second half and was outscored 29-27 by Broadmoor, which was led by Tremaine Porter’s 10 second-half points.
Broadmoor’s Collin Woods also hit 10 points, but it was too little, too late for the Bucs, whose 17-4 first-quarter deficit was too much to overcome.
“Normally we’re a fourth-quarter team,” Grantham said. “We didn’t need it in the fourth quarter today, we needed it in the first quarter.”
Woodlawn 51, Southern Lab 48: After trailing by four at halftime, No. 6-seeded Woodlawn escaped with a 51-48 overtime win against Southern Lab.
“That’s how we’ve played all season,” said Woodlawn coach Elmo Fernandez. “Every game is a heart attack.”
Chris Williams paced the Panthers, dropping 17 of his 19 points in the second-half to help boost Woodlawn to a win. Tyree Spurlock chipped in 13 points for Woodlawn.
Southern Lab, led by Deonte Shorts and Samuel Forest who each scored 13, led 19-15 at halftime but was outscored by 10 in the third quarter and eventually fell in overtime.
Woodlawn will play Zachary at 4:30 Thursday, while the Kittens face an elimination game against Capitol at 1:30 p.m.
Central 41, Baker 40: Thanks to a layup from Terrell Chatman in the final seconds that gave Central its first lead, the Wildcats squeaked out a win against Baker.
Baker held the lead from the opening tip until the final 10 seconds, but eventually fell to Central thanks to a 13-point effort by Justin Jemison. Jemison also swatted away a shot by Baker’s Eric Huber, the Buffaloes leading scorer with 10 points,to secure the win as time expired.
The win pits Central against No. 2 seed Istrouma at 6 p.m. Baker will play again Friday against the winner of Capitol and Southern Lab, who play at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
McKinley 67, Northeast 61: McKinley fended off a strong effort by Northeast’s combination of Chris’, to secure a 67-61 win Thursday.
Northeast’s Chris Woodside scored 21 and Chris Vernon chipped in 19, but it wasn’t enough to pull the Vikings to victory. Keeyon Smart scored 14 to pace McKinley, which led 29-23 at halftime. Delwin Rodney also contributed 11 points to the Panthers’ win.
McKinley faces No. 1-seeded Scotlandville in Thursday’s final game at 7:30 p.m., while Northeast will play Friday against the winner of Belaire and Broadmoor.
Zachary 68, Capitol 44: The nightcap featured six double-digit scorers as Zachary outdueled Capitol.
Rasheed James, Daven Moss and Bryant Lang hit 16, 13 and 11 points, respectively. Capitol matched that with Johnny Thomas’ 15 points, Joshua Smith’s 10 and Eric Richard’s 10.
Zachary never trailed, leading 46-29 at halftime.
Zachary plays Woodlawn at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and Capitol plays Southern Lab at 1:30 p.m.